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To Till or Not to Till?

by Tami Greever
(Northwest Arkansas, USA)

Cover crops do amazing things for a garden. . .smother weeds, add nutrient, and most importantly, sustain the micro-organisms in the soil throughout the winter. However, if the cover crop is tilled back into the soil during the spring, the tilling process essentially disturbs or even kills these micro-organisms/earthworms.

Is there a better way?

As for now, I only plant peas for cover crops and cut them at the soil line in the spring (composting tops or feeding back to chickens and goats)--but I'd like to plant a grass-like crop next year and am baffled as to handle this without tilling.

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